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Student Handbook for 
Global Engagement 

Written for and by students from the University of 
Michigan with the support of the Center for Global Health 

Science in service of global health equity 

"The University of Michigan has a legacy of tackling critical health issues through 
research and action. Students are a vital part of this history, as leaders and participants 
in important global health research and service projects around the world. This Student 
Handbook represents over a year of collaborative work between U-M students across 
disciplines. With the support and encouragement of the Center for Global Health, every 
stage in the development of this resource was led by students - from the identification 
needs to the drafting of content. The Center is proud to have fostered this 
interdisciplinary collaboration between its Student Associates and other students across 

On behalf of the Center for Global Health, I enthusiastically endorse this Student 
Handbook as a valuable guide for all students interested and engaged in global health." 

Sofia Merajver, MD, PhD, Director, Center for Global Health 

Professor of Internal Medicine 

Scientific Director, Breast Oncology Program 

Director, Breast and Ovarian Cancer 

Risk Evaluation Program 

University of Michigan 

"Authentic engagement in global health requires a new understanding of the role of 
students from high-income countries. Beyond dualistic thinking or paternalistic approaches 
that have sometime been termed "neocolonialism", the new model of global engagement is 
a co-creative one in which health priority setting and problem solving are accomplished 
collaboratively. This manual is an active creation of highly motivated students who are 
helping to define new ways of working abroad. We encourage you to become conduits of 
this energy and evoke this new era in authentic global engagement." 

Frank J. Anderson MD MPH 

University of Michigan OB GYN 

Faculty Associate, Center for Global Health 

Faculty Mentor, Standards for Global Engagement Committee 

"The fact that this document was prepared by students for students is one of its greatest 
strengths. Challenges and suggestions are laid out in a clear manner, keeping in mind the 
limitations of student work and resources. This is a great starting point and reference for 
students to consult throughout their research and learning endeavors." 

Hasan Siddiqi, MD Program 

University of Michigan Medical School 
Student Associate, Center for Global Health 


Approximately forty University of Michigan students - representing most of its schools and colleges - 
participated in the development of this handbook. Group leaders and key writers are shown in bold, 
Associates of the Center for Global Health are noted with an asterisk (*). 

•Kathleen F. Bush, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Rackham Graduate School 
"Christopher Glen, Philosophy, College of Literature, Science fit the Arts (LS&A) 
*Julie Maslowsky, Developmental Psychology, Rackham Graduate School 
*Annie Mitsak, Biomedical Engineering, Rackham Graduate School 
*Sujal Parikh, Medical School 

*Carrie Rheingans, Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health and 
Community Organization, School of Social Work 

Andrew Admon, Medical School 

*Brigette Bulcholtz, Microbiology, College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LS&A) 
*Viktor Burlaka, Social Work/Clinical Psychology, Rackham Graduate School 
*Sirui Cao, Epidemiology, School of Public Health 
Maureen Connelly, School of Law 

Arun Hariharan, Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology, Rackham Graduate School 
•Alexander Harrington, Sociology, College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LS&A) 
*Annalies Heinrichs, Medical School 

Janaiya Johnson, Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health 
*Jaqueline Levene, English, College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LS&A) 
*Ruti Levtov, Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health 
Ian May, Medical School 

*Joey McCoy, General Studies, College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LS&A) 
Peggy McLaughlin, Nursing, Rackham Graduate School 

*Massy Mutumba, Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health 
*Nyia Noel, Medical School and School of Public Health 

Folasade Odeniyi, Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health 
*Phallon Officer-Treece, Public Administration, Rackham Graduate School 
*Linda Okoth, Epidemiology, School of Public Health 
Sonali Palchaudhuri, Medical School 

•Joseph Perosky, Biomedical Engineering, Rackham Graduate School 
*John Prensner, Medical School and Medical Scientist Training Program, Rackham 
*Mekhala Reghavan, Biomedical Engineering, Rackham Graduate School 
*Hasan Siddiqi, Medical School 

"Jacqueline Smith, Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health 
Alexandra Sova, Political Science, College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LS&A) 
*Jason Smoot, School of Public Policy 
*Amy Starke, School of Nursing 

*Will Story, Health Service, Organization & Policy, Rackham Graduate School 
*Joanna Tatomir, Anthropology, Rackham Graduate School and School of Public Health 
*Alice Zheng, Medical School 

•Faculty Mentor, Frank Anderson, MD, MPH, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Medical School 
Center for Global Health staff, Heather Lutz and Kate Restrick 


Table of Contents 




se, Adaptations, and Redistribution 



:er 1 . Ethics of Research Abroad 






Defining Purpose, Capabilities, and Limitations 






High Impact Projects 



Local Organization Involvement 



Cultural Competency 






Institutional Review Board Approval 



Application and Dissemination of Research Findings 






:er 2. Project Development with International Partners 






Planning Stage 



Design Stage 



Implementation Stage 



Dissemination Stage 



Evaluation Stage 





University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Chapter 3. Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad 

3.1 Introduction 

3.2 Competence 

3.3 Confidentiality 

3.4 Collaboration 

3.5 Cultural Sensitivity 

3.6 Personal Time 


Chapter 4. Global Citizenship and Advocacy 

4.1 Introduction 

4.2 Global Citizenship: A Conceptual Overview 

4.3 Advocacy and Stakeholders 

4.4 Engaging with Governments and Community Organizations 

4.5 Engaging with Non-Governmental Stakeholders 

4.6 Engaging with Academia and the Campus Community 

4.7 Engaging with the Public 

4.8 Considerations for Social Media Use 

4.9 Resources 


Chapter 5. Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

5.1 Introduction 

5.2 Travel Arrangements 

5.3 Safety 

5.4 Language 

5.5 Health 

5.6 Housing 

5.7 Communication with Family and Friends While Abroad 

5.8 Money Issues 

5.9 Funding for the Experience 


Student Handbook for Global Engagement 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Traveling abroad for research or service is an exciting undertaking, but it can also be very 
challenging; there is so much to think about! Designing an effective, relevant and ethical project, 
working effectively with international partners, and disseminating a useful product are just a few 
of the important issues that students will encounter as they plan their work abroad. In this 
document, University of Michigan students who have experience doing research and service 
abroad have compiled recommendations and resources in five major areas: Ethics of Research 
Abroad, Project Development with International Partners, Guidelines for Professional Behavior 
Abroad, Global Citizenship and Advocacy, and Logistics of Research and Service Abroad. Our 
intent is to offer a roadmap for planning projects abroad, with advice on multiple levels — from 
the logistics of paying for your trip and staying safe, to broader issues such as ethics and 

In Ethics of Research Abroad, we introduce the primary ethical considerations that students 
should address when planning and implementing their projects. In Project Development with 
International Partners, we discuss the five major phases of a project - planning, designing 
implementation, dissemination, and evaluation — and offer concrete suggestions on how to 
proceed through each step. In Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad, we provide 
guidelines on important aspects of professional behavior abroad: collaboration, communication, 
cultural sensitivity, and confidentiality. In Global Citizenship and Advocacy, we examine the 
broader context of working abroad: the global flows of influence and capital and how one can 
engage appropriately as a global citizen. In Logistics of Research and Service Abroad, we address 
the many logistical questions that arise when preparing to work abroad including health, safety, 
language, travel, and other important areas. 

We hope that students who are planning a research or service trip abroad will consult this 
document early in the process of planning their trips in order to get an overview of the many 
issues important to a successful trip. We hope that this guide, specifically the Project 
Development with International Partners and Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad 
chapters, can continue to be a resource during the implementation of your project and the 
dissemination of its results. And finally, we hope that students will contribute their knowledge to 
future versions of this document in order to help it be as useful as possible to all students 
engaged in international projects. 

University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

License, Adaptations, and Redistribution 

This document is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 
License ( This license lets others modify and 
build upon our work, as long as they cite this document and license their new creations under 
identical terms and for noncommercial purposes. 

We chose to use a Creative Commons License rather than copyrighting our work because we 
believe that the free flow of information enhances collaboration and that unnecessary 
restrictions on the use of content hamper innovation. This is particularly poignant for our 
colleagues in resource-poor settings in the U.S. and around the world. Often, they are unable to 
access the most reliable health information and research available because of copyright 
restrictions and payment requirements. By using a Creative Commons License, we hope to 
contribute to the growing movement of students, researchers, publishers, and policy-makers 
seeking to expand access to information and knowledge. 

Additionally, because numerous students have contributed to this guide over the course of this 
year, and many more will be contributing in the future, we believe that a Creative Commons 
License is consistent with the spirit of the voluntary nature of their work. 

We encourage students and faculty at schools around the world to adapt and improve upon our 
work. We ask that they, as a matter of courtesy, inform the University of Michigan Center for 
Global Health about these adaptations so that we can learn from others as we continue to 
address critical health issues through research and action. 

For More Information, Adaptations, and Redistribution 


ttribution Non-Commercial Share Alike cc by-nc-sa 

.'his license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this 
work non-commercially, as long as they credit the authors 
and license their new creations under identical terms. Others 
can download and redistribute this work just like the by-nc- 
nd (attribution non-commercial no derivative works) license, 
but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new 
stories based on this work. All new work based on this work 
will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be 
non-commercial in nature. 

For more information on Creative Commons licenses, go to 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 

Chapter 1 
Ethics of Research Abroad 

1.1 Introduction 

Performing research or service abroad is ethically complex. Even with the best of intentions, it 
is possible to inadvertently do harm if you are not careful to examine all relevant ethical 
considerations when planning and implementing a project and when disseminating its results. 

This section focuses on eight areas of particular importance when considering the ethical 
aspects of an international research or intervention project: intent; reciprocity and balance of 
gain; high impact interventions; local organization involvement; cultural competency; 
sustainability; IRB involvement; and the application and implementation of research 
findings. We discuss the primary ethical considerations involved in each phase of the 
project. At the end of the section, we provide resources for further reading in several of these 

It is important to note that this chapter is not intended to give specific guidance on ethical 
project design. Instead, it is intended to introduce you to broad ethical principles that are 
important and valuable components of all international work. You are then directed to later 
chapters in this document to gain specific tips on how to ensure your projects are ethically 

1.2 Defining Purpose, Capabilities, and Limitations 

From the onset of any research or service project abroad, it is important to clearly 
communicate your project's purpose as well as your capabilities and limitations or those of your 
organization. Without a clear understanding of the purpose and capacity of the project, there 
may be misunderstandings between you and the people with whom you work while abroad. 

Have a clear plan of the project and its scope from the outset. 

• Share the plan with local collaborators. They should have a clear understanding of exactly 
what will be done during the course of the project, specifically, what questions will be 
asked or what services will be provided. Local collaborators will not be able to collaborate 
effectively on the project if they do not have a clear understanding of its purpose. Ideally, 
these local collaborators will be involved in the project from inception through 
implementation, as discussed below. 

Know what you are capable of doing and how much you can afford to do. 

• Honest misunderstandings and false hopes may result if the people with whom you work are 
expecting you to produce a bigger project than you are capable of producing. Local 
collaborators should know how many people can be included in the research study or how 
many people can be served by the program, so that they do not expect more than what you 
can provide. 

Know your limitations. 

• Knowing what you cannot do is as important as knowing what you can do. Local 
collaborators or participants may view you as an expert in areas in which you have little 
experience. It is your responsibility to clarify your areas of expertise and areas in which you 
are not an expert. For more see Chapter 3, Guidelines for Professional Behavior. 

University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Ethics of Research Abroad 

Do not make promises that you cannot keep. 

• When working in another country, it is common to feel that there is so much more that 
needs to be done beyond your particular research or service project. You may be tempted 
to offer to do more, either now or in the future. However, resist making promises if you do 
not know for sure that you will be able to keep them. Local people may develop false 
hopes, or they may count on you for services you cannot provide. It is important to 
maintain an open and transparent relationship with the target community for the sake of 
your own project and the sake of those who will work in the community after you. 

1.3 Reciprocity 

Research conducted abroad is often not fair in its distribution of burdens and benefits between 
the researcher and the host community, at times compromising the welfare of local 
researchers, community members, research participants, and anyone else who may be 
impacted by either the process or results of the work. Your research should neither 
disproportionately benefit your own interests nor create a disproportionate burden for 
members of the host community. Prior to the beginning of any research endeavor, the 
demands of your project on people and resources should be carefully examined and weighed 
against the potential benefits of the research to the members of the host community. 

Limit the burden of research on a host community. 

• Research may unintentionally impose burdens upon the host community. Projects may 
require local residents and staff to dedicate economic resources or time that could be 
better used elsewhere. Additionally, demands placed on the local infrastructure by 
research projects can have negative effects on the target community. 

• Avoid taking away resources and personnel from existing projects of local importance. 

• Consider the following questions before embarking on an international research project: 
Will a project erode the trust between local community members and local hospitals or 
academic institutions? Will services provided as part of the study replicate and potentially 
compete with services provided by community institutions? If the answer is 'y es >' you 
should reconsider the worth of the overall project. 

Attempt to maximize potential benefits to the host community. 

• Research should be designed with the host community as the primary beneficiary. 

• Collaboration should begin in the planning stages of a project in order to ensure that an 
issue of interest to the researcher is also one identified as important by the community. 

• Collaboration should continue throughout the analysis portion of any project as well, with 
local collaborators remaining involved in the interpretation of data and serving as 
coauthors of any papers stemming from the work. 

• When determining the ordering of authors, particular consideration should be given to unique 
contributions made by local co-authors. At times these contributions may be intangible, yet 
still have great importance in the final product. For further information on dissemination of 
research results see Chapter 2, Project Development with International Partners. 

1.4 High Impact Projects 

Research or service projects abroad should seek to exert the greatest possible positive impact 
on the local community, the scientific community, and/or the global community. 

Attempt to seek partnerships with existing projects. 

• Avoid conducting research that is only beneficial to the scientific community in developed 
countries. Research partners in target countries should not be subordinate to researchers 
from developed countries. 

• Seek to form partnerships with already-existing projects in target countries. This can 
ensure cultural sensitivity is upheld, help to develop relationships with policy makers in 
the target country, and build trust and camaraderie that is necessary for long-term 
research partnerships. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 

Ethics of Research Abroad 

Attempt to increase impact-to-resource ratio. 

• Design projects and interventions that are sustainable in target communities. Always ask 
the question, After my time in this area is complete, will a local individual or group be 
able to take over my project using only local resources? 

Consider the multiple sides of burden. 

• Always remain vigilant of personal abilities and avoid committing to tasks that require 
intensive training or supervision from local practitioners. 

• Be mindful of the adverse social consequences that can result from certain forms of data 
collection such as disease reporting and contact tracing; avoid creating broad categories 
of 'at risk' groups in community health interventions. This can include, for example, 
partaking in public activities that label individuals as 'infected' with a culturally 
stigmatized disease. 

Give adequate thought to cost-benefit considerations. 

• Ideally, students will commit to a project length of at least one month, as it is often 
difficult to make a sufficiently large impact with projects of a shorter duration. 

• If a cost-benefit analysis reveals project inefficiencies, it might be best to abstain from 
committing to the project in hopes that another researcher or practitioner will better 
utilize available resources. 

1.5 Local Organization Involvement 

Any effort to engage in responsible research abroad requires partnership with local 
organizations or individuals. Regardless of your best intentions, your desire as an investigator 
to move forward with projects can inadvertently create risk for acting in ways that are 
disrespectful to the group of people from which you are hoping to learn. Local partners can 
help guide you in our research efforts while helping you avoid the various mistakes that can 
be made by researchers working abroad. 

Establish contact with local partners as your first step in formulating your research project. 

• Bringing local individuals on board as early as possible helps to ensure that projects are 
culturally appropriate and that they address a question that is relevant to the lives of 
those in the host community. 

Approach local partners during the early planning stages in order to develop a truly 
collaborative relationship. 

• Waiting until a detailed research question and protocol are fully formulated before asking 
for input sets up the dynamic of "them" as the host community members working for "us" 
as the foreign investigators on our own pre-conceived project. 

Develop a documented partnership with local individuals or organizations in order to 
promote collaborative values at your institution. 

• While making contact with individuals or groups in a given community and engaging with 
them in the research planning process may be difficult, it is your responsibility as a 
foreign researcher to give priority to the development of these relationships. 

• By creating an institutional culture that emphasizes the importance of local partnership in 
research abroad, the University of Michigan and other institutions can ensure that all 
researchers engage responsibly with host communities, ultimately allowing for more 
collaborative and successful projects. 

University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Ethics of Research Abroad 

1.6 Cultural Competency 

Cultural competency is the ability to interact with people of different cultures. In any health 
care setting, cultural competency specifically refers to awareness of the regional 
specificities present in the area serviced by the organization or clinic with whom a 
researcher will be working. Such competency suggests that the student is conscious of the 
region's unique cultural, economic, political, and historical attributes. It does not 
necessarily require expertise. 

The importance of cultural competency 

• There are many challenges to performing research or service in the global arena. When 
entering an unfamiliar setting, it is essential that you enter as enlightened as possible 
with respect to the region's sociocultural, historical, and political environment. 

• Background knowledge eases transition into a new community. Sensitivity to regional 
customs and manners helps convey sincere interest in community members and ensures 
that research is appropriate, respectful, and applicable. 

• Suggestions for how to implement principles of cultural competency in student projects 
are discussed in Chapter 4, Global Citizenship and Advocacy. 

1.7 Sustainability 

An ethical project is one that does not create a need or burden that did not exist before the 
project began and avoids exerting new stress on existing local resources during the process 
of implementation. In other words, ethical projects are sustainable. 

The two broad types of sustainability: 

• Fiscal sustainability of operations. At the start, the leader of a research or service 
project may be particularly concerned with fiscal sustainability: Are there enough 
resources and funding to keep the project going? 

• "Putting oneself out of business." This more advanced conceptualization of sustainability 
means implementing a research or service project so effectively that it no longer needs 
your input or support or can be sustained by local people without outside assistance. 

All research and service projects abroad should be designed and implemented with principles 
of sustainability in mind. Guidelines on how to implement sustainable student projects can 
be found in Chapter 2, Project Development with International Partners. 

1.8 Institutional Review Board Approval 

Institutional Review Boards (IRB) were instituted to serve as a mechanism to protect the 
rights and welfare of human subjects involved in biomedical and behavioral research. Every 
research study requires IRB approval prior to commencement. The conditions for ethical 
approval are more stringent for research studies in vulnerable populations such as children, 
incarcerated persons, pregnant women, and persons with impaired decisional capacity as 
well as conditions that are be stigmatizing such as HIV. 

More details and specific tips on applying for IRB approval can be found in Chapter 2, Project 
Development with International Partners. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 

Ethics of Research Abroad 

1.9 Application and Dissemination of Research Findings 

It is important to consider how study results will be communicated not only to the scientific 
community, but also to the members of the community where the research was completed. 

Questions to consider when thinking about dissemination of research findings 

• What is the purpose of this research study? Some research is directly applicable in real 
world settings, while other research is undertaken to advance basic scientific knowledge. 
While both types of research can be valuable, it is important to think through the specific 
contributions your project may make, weighing them against the potential your project has 
for imposing unfair burdens on participants who may not benefit from the research. 

• What contribution will this research study make to the already existing body of knowledge 
related to this field? 

Involving the community in dissemination of findings 

• Findings from research or service projects should be shared with the local community so 
that they can benefit directly from the work that the student has done. Students should 
disseminate their products and results to study participants or their community as 
applicable as well as to relevant persons or organizations that may benefit from this 
knowledge and be able to apply it in the future. 

More details and specific tips on disseminating the results of research and service projects can 
be found in Chapter 2, Project Development with International Partners. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Ethics of Research Abroad 

1.10 Resources 

Cultural Competency 


Unite for Site has an online learning module on cultural competency in the international 

and clinical setting. This online module is free and open to all and is designed to help individuals 

better understand their impact on the communities in which they work. 

An integrative tool that can be used to identify and remove biases in health research that aenve 
from any social hierarchy. 

The BIAS FREE Framework: A practical tool for identifying and eliminating 
social biases in health research (Global Forum for Health Research, 2006). 

httD:/ /www. 

Website containing detailed information on all matter of country specific information. 
Students can create their own data sets to learn important cultural, geographic, 
and demographic information. 

Fadiman, A. (1998). The spirit catches you and you fall down. 
New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. 

Alvort, L. (2000). The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines 
Western Medicine and Traditional Healing. New York: Bantam. 

Farmer, P. (2006). AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame. 
Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Dettwyler, K. (1993). Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa. Long Grove, IL: 
Waveland Press. 

Ashforth, A. (2005) Madumo, a Man Bewitched. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 

High Impact Interventions 

Pinto, A. D. & Upshur, R. E.G. (2009). Global health ethics for students. 
Developing World Bioethics (9): 1-10. 

Institutional Review Board (IRB) 

httD: //med. htm 

Website of the IRB at the University of Michigan, 
http: //mv. research. 

Online educational tool for research ethics required by University of Michigan for all researchers. 
httD:/ /www. hhs.aov/ohrD/irb/irb introduction. htm#b3 

Institutional Review boards: A guide book 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 



Chapter 2 
Project Development with International Partners 


2.1 Introduction 

This section includes guiding principles, best practices, and issues to consider when developing 
projects with international partners. It is organized into sections pertaining to the different 
stages of a project - planning, designing, implementation, and evaluation. Although the 
organization appears to be linear, please realize that the design process will be an iterative 
process where feedback at each step is used to make improvements in the design and design 
process. Emphasis is placed not only on the final product but also on the process of creation 
itself. The process starts with identifying appropriate partners who are positively integrated in 
the community. From here, explicit long-term goals and a timeline and process for achieving 
these goals can then be decided upon. It is implied throughout this chapter that any and all 
projects - research, internships, and others - undertaken by students should follow certain 
ethical guidelines. See Chapter 1, Ethics of Research Abroad, for more information. 

Since this document is meant for individuals from a variety of disciplines, it is imperative to 
begin by defining some terms that may take different meanings depending on the origin of the 
project and its founders. 

A design can encompass the following: 

• Technology (e.g. device or "thing", software, consumable good) 

• Process/system /service (e.g. a way to distribute a good) 

• Program /platform (e.g. educational or training program) 

• Any combination of the above 

Designers can mean: 

• Any individual, group, or organization performing research or activities related to designing 
health care solutions for developing communities. 

A product can be: 

• A publication, policy, manual, survey, or legislation 

• An instrument or device 

• Intellectual property such as a patent 

Partners may include: 

Members of the community 
Study subjects 
Community organizations 
Non-government leaders 
Government officials 

Sustainability can be defined as: 

• Project sustainability - Involving the local people through co-creation, leveraging the local 
resources and infrastructure that already exist, developing a system for continuing data 
collection in the area and having clearly defined short- and long-term goals. 

• Financial sustainability - Differentiating between funding the project efforts from year to 
year and ensuring that there are adequate resources and financial stability for the project to 
continue in the future without the presence of the outside designers. 

• Environmental sustainability - Considering the life-cycle of any outputs that result from the 
project and being conscious of energy and resource consumption and waste generation. 

University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Project Development with International Partners 

2.2 The Planning Stage 

Establish a primary community contact. 

Co-creation is central to any intervention in a foreign country in order to to ensure that the 
project is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. To begin this process, you should 
establish an "on the ground" contact, typically a member of the community or an individual 
who has been working closely with the community for some time. He or she will serve as the 
liaison between your group and the community with which you are working. Communicate via 
email, telephone, written letters, or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications (such as 
Skype), using whichever method is most practical for you and your contact. 

• Discuss and verify the local partners' goals and expectations. 

• Reemphasize each party's specific goals and mission in this project, both those that are 
common and those that may differ. 

• Discuss time constraints and the time frame for the project. This could include a more 
specific schedule outlining benchmarks to be achieved. 

Establish partnerships. 

• When searching for partners, clearly define the purpose of the project and the input 
being sought from that particular partner. For a project to be successful, relationships 
between partners and designers must be balanced. 

• Suitable partners may include NGOs, government, non-profits both in the U.S. and in the 
region of interest, university connections, and others. 

• Empowering international collaborators and local citizens with knowledge and expertise 
to meet project goals will contribute to the sustainability of the project. Students should 
be open to the mutual exchange of information and recognize that there is much to learn 
from local customs and operations. 

• See Chapter 4, Global Citizenship and Advocacy for more information on establishing 

Perform a resource and needs assessment. 

A resource and needs assessment involves going out into the community to talk to the future 
users of your technology or program. This assessment provides insight into the community and 
the users who will interact with the intervention. To be successful, it must be a collaborative 
effort with the community, not one that is imposed upon the community. Some questions to 
consider include: 

• What challenges and needs does the community identify? 

• What are the environmental characteristics (physical surroundings, water and sanitation, 
presence of vectors, etc)? 

• What is the social, cultural, economic, and political context of the target population and 

• What are the major social and health issues including mortality, poverty, food insecurity, 
major causes of morbidity, prevalence of malnutrition, health care coverage, presence 
and history of diseases which are endemic or have epidemic potential? 

• What resources are currently available, and which ones are needed (human and material 
e.g. food; shelter, health personnel, facilities and supplies, transportation, energy)? 

• What services, businesses or government programs exist within the community that may 
support the designers' goals? 

• Who are the stakeholders in the community (other organizations working with the 
community, government involvement, ministry of health, etc.)? 

• What is the best strategy for implementation? 

• What resources and personnel will be needed? 

• What resources are available within the university community and elsewhere domestically 
that could aid the project (prototyping resources, groups and individuals with valuable 
skills and experience)? 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Project Development with International Partners 

Develop a problem statement. 

• Use the information gained from the needs assessment to decide upon a focused 
intervention centered on a clearly defined problem. This can be done by creating a problem 
statement. A problem statement states the situation that needs to be addressed, who and 
what is affected, quantifies the problem, and addresses an issue related to the purpose of 
the program or project. 

Establish a clear motivation and set goals. 

• From the onset, use the problem statement to clearly delineate the motivation (reasons for 
embarking on the design project) and goals (what will be accomplished by the design 
project) of the project. Note that the goals will likely be adapted and changed throughout 
the course of the project. 

• Include objectives to be accomplished by the project as well as learning goals for individual 
students working on the project. 

• Make the goals known to all volunteers, funders, and members of the community with 
which you are working. 

Determine if Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required for the project. 

• IRB approval is required before performing research involving human subjects and is 
intended to protect the rights and welfare of these subjects. 

• Institutional review boards may be found at institutions of higher learning and ministries of 
health or related administrative directorates, as well as research institutions within the 
host country. 

• IRBs differ from country to country so the process to determine approval guidelines should 
be started early. 

• Seeking IRB approval may be a long, frustrating ordeal requiring frequent revisions to the 
research proposal before approval may be granted. It is important that you start early. 

• See the UM's IRB website for more information: 

Identify specific factors that may limit the effectiveness of the project. 

• Consider such factors as lack of transportation to access your service, language barriers, 
and affordability of product in the design of the project. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Project Development with International Partners 

2.3 The Design Stage 

Learn about local culture, government, religion, etc. 

• It is important to be aware of such things before traveling to the community. Care should 
be taken to behave according to local customs and conduct business using accepted 

• See Chapter 3, Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad, for more information. 

Develop a timeline with clearly defined goals at each step. 

• Include both a timeline for the planning of project logistics as well as a long-term plan. 

Develop a budget. 

• Consider both the project budget and your own personal budget and expenses. 

• Carefully plan out your personal budget being sure to overestimate your expenses. 
Categories to include in a personal budget include: 

Living expenses (e.g., lodging, food, phone, in-country transit) 

Health (e.g., health insurance, vaccinations, mosquito net, medications) 

- Travel (e.g., airfare, visa/passport, travel insurance, airport transit) 
Pre-departure (e.g., gifts for hosts) 

Other (e.g., leisure items and activities) 

• Talk to your co-investigators about the project budget to determine what it covers, over 
what time period, and from where the money is coming from. While not all projects will 
have an extensive budget, the following is a list of relevant categories to include in a 
project budget: 


Office supplies and resources (e.g., electricity, materials) 

Personnel (e.g., translator) 

- Office space 

Determine and finalize project specifications. 

The finalization of the project design of the project should be an iterative process as 

feedback is received from the host community. Some questions to consider include: 

• What are the "dimensions" of the project? If you are collecting data, how many people 
are you going to interview? What types of questions will you ask? What will the follow-up 
protocol be? If you are designing a device, what are the specific things that it must do? 
How big will it be? What power will be required? 

• What will be the role of each team member, collaborator, and/or co-investigator? 

• What are the metrics of success? How will you evaluate these metrics? 

Establish a mechanism for real-time feedback at each step to evaluate the local community 
response to the project. 

• Identify the different groups in the local community from whom input is desired, such as 
beneficiaries of the project, implementers of the intervention, team members, 
supervisors, government officials, civil society organizations, and international 

• Identify how each group will be approached. The style of data collection used will yield 
different perspectives and information, so feedback mechanisms should be designed with 
the following themes in mind: 

- Type of meeting: Individual interview, small focus group of several individuals, or 
town-hall type meeting 

- Setting: Home, public location, or in a clinic 

Resources: In choosing a setting, keep in mind logistical and resource constraints such 
as time, money, and access. 

- Question style: Broad vs. specific, community vs. personal attitudes, factual v. 
anecdotal, etc. 

Incorporate feedback and findings into the ongoing project. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Project Development with International Partners 

2.4 The Implementation Stage 

Establish contact with local partners. 

• Finalize plans with local partners (see Planning Stage above). 

• Delineate and delegate specific tasks to team members and make sure to have a system for 
regular feedback and adjustments in order to promote maximum efficiency. 

• Establish a schedule of regular updates and meetings among team members. 

• Be cognizant of the local professional culture. It may not be the norm to approach the 
initial meeting as you had planned, so it is important to be flexible and receptive to how 
your partners might envision setting up logistics and on-the-ground arrangements. 

• Arrange for an interpreter if necessary. Meet with the interpreter before finalizing 
arrangements to ensure that the group is comfortable with him or her and that he or she 
can effectively serve the group. 

Verify local travel and housing arrangements. 

• These may differ or have changed from previous communications. Please see Chapter 5, 
Logistics of Research and Service Abroad for a more detailed description with checklists 
pertaining to logistical issues. 

Locate and mobilize local resources needed to implement the project. 

• Locate and contact vendors for raw and manufactured goods, labor and human resources, 
and transportation of materials. 

• If you are setting up a supply chain, establish contact with the various parties involved in 
the system. 

Introduce technology/ platform I program in the target community. 

• This may include training of users, establishment of infrastructure, and advertisement in 
the community. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Project Development with International Partners 

2.5 The Dissemination Stage 

Ensure equal access to information. 

While the sharing of information across international, political, and social boundaries may be 

challenging, steps should be taken early and often to ensure equal access to information. 

• Procedures, results, and evaluations should be shared at all levels and should be sensitive 
to cultural norms and social hierarchy, yet open to avenues for change. 

• Local commitment to follow the project through to completion could vary depending on 
local traditions, so discuss expectations early with partners. 

• Keep in mind that the research, patent, and legal processes are often simultaneous; 
planning ahead and developing a timeline for any of them may prove beneficial for all. 

Discuss intellectual property issues. 

Producing with international partners generates the issue of ownership - who owns the ideas, 
documents or technologies that are developed? A spectrum of approaches exists, ranging from 
obtaining a patent to disseminating findings in an open source manner. 

• All parties (including domestic advisors and international collaborators) must be a part of 
the discussion and exploitive behavior must be avoided. The influence of local knowledge 
and local products should guide the decision in determining the ownership of intellectual 

• For further information, see the University of Michigan's Tech Transfer website 
(, which includes details pertaining to work with commercial 
partners, funding sources, patents and other protection methods, as well as legal assistance. 

Establish clear and ethical scholarship and authorship policies. 

Due credit should be given to those who took part in production of project deliverables, 

whether a research paper, a device, or a policy. 

• Take into account the time and effort that each party contributed to the end product, as 
well as what facilities and resources were used throughout the process. 

• For further details on this subject, see Chapter 3, Guidelines for Professional Behavior 

Observe standards of academic integrity. 

Working and researching in an international partnership gives you responsibilities beyond 

immediate project goals or considerations toward a given host country. 

• Dissemination of the final product is not limited to academia, but should extend to the 
public and the host community members who can benefit from the outcomes. Think about 
how the findings can be utilized by these individuals. 

• Due credit should be given to those immediately involved in any projects, as well as outside 
resources used throughout the research process. 

• For additional guidance on using and properly citing resources, the University of Michigan's 
library has an extensive section on academic integrity ( 
integrity) for both students and instructors. Also see Chapter 1, Ethics of Research. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Project Development with International Partners 

2.6 The Evaluation Stage 

An important aspect of any project is evaluating if, and to what extent, the project's goals are 
being met. Evaluation should take place at each stage of the project and metrics for evaluation 
should be outlined during the planning stages. Evaluation is a key part of the iterative project 
design and implementation process and helps to clearly outline what is going well in the 
project and where improvements are needed. The evaluators, who are often also the 
implementers, should try to be as objective as possible and consider a comprehensive set of 
metrics. One method by which to do this is to require project evaluators to demonstrate that 
the project is not having detrimental effects or causing harm. There are several perspectives 
from which to evaluate a project, all of which should be considered for any project, regardless 
of its purpose. 

The functional perspective 

Evaluating from a functional perspective means determining how well the project is carrying 
out the proposed functions that have been clearly outlined in the planning and design stages. 
Examples of questions to be asked include: 

• Is the project accomplishing what it set out to accomplish? 

• Are the various aspects of the project functioning properly? 

• Are there unintended or unforeseen functions of the project? 

• How is the project affecting local ecosystems and infrastructure or vice versa? 

• What improvements could be made to improve the functionality of the project? 

The capacity perspective 

The capacity building aspects of a project refer to how it is affecting the community members' 
ability to function in society. Typically, the project intends to improve this capacity through 
such things as improving quality of life, making goods and services more accessible, improving 
education, creating jobs, and improving the skill-set of workers in the area. Questions to be 
asked when evaluating from this perspective include: 

• How has the quality of life of the people in the community been affected (either positively 
or negatively)? Is this change sustainable? 

• What opportunities are now available that weren't available before? 

• What indirect effects is the project having on neighboring communities? 

• Is the project causing deterioration of the capacity of a community or neighboring 
communities in any way? 

The relational perspective 

The relational aspects of a project refer to how the project affects relationships between 
people who are involved in some part of the project. It can refer to familial and other 
community relationships, relationships between service providers and users of a service, 
relationships between governing entities and the community, or relationships between those 
within the community and those from outside the community. Questions to ask when evaluating 
from this perspective include: 

• What new relationships or roles have been created by the implementation of your project? 

• Have family or community roles changed? What are the positive and negative impacts of 
these changes? 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Project Development with International Partners 

2.7 Resources 

"Community Toolbox" 

General resources for conducting projects that promote healthy communities, courtesy of the 
University of Kansas. 

UM IRB Resources 

UM Library's Academic Integrity page 

UM Tech Transfer Office 

Tools used in developing and evaluating health programs. 

Resources for developing and evaluating community based projects, including training 
modules that offer advice and resources for planning health interventions. 

Dym, Clive L. and Little, Patrick (2003) Engineering Design: A Project-Based Introduction. 
New York: Wiley Press. 

Contains tips on developing a problem statement and motivation taking user criteria into 


Chapter 3 
Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad 

3.1 Introduction 

Those engaged in global health working under the auspices of the University of Michigan should 
maintain high standards of professional attitudes and behaviors while on the job in foreign work 
environments. Additionally, it is important to consider the ethical implications of 
unprofessional behavior during personal time abroad. Students associated with U-M working 
around the world should work with the following professional principles in mind: competence, 
confidentiality, collaboration, and cultural sensitivity. 

3.2 Competence 

Competence is the ability to perform a specific task successfully. This requires necessary 
training and support. While abroad, you may find that the level of competence and training 
required to do certain tasks differs compared to home. It is your responsibility to assess each 
situation, consider if your training has fully prepared you, and to clarify with your U-M mentors 
and local collaborators the kinds of tasks you are permitted, able, and willing to perform. 

3.3 Confidentiality 

Confidentiality as a concept may be interpreted differently in different locations, both within 
the United States and abroad. Because there are different interpretations, always strive to 
maintain and display the highest standard possible when considering confidentiality abroad. 
Maintaining confidentiality can aid in gaining trust from colleagues and the community in which 
you are working. Confidentiality is important for protecting and empowering participants, 
community members, and colleagues, and can ensure more accurate research results by 
encouraging honesty among participants. As part of maintaining confidentiality, you should: 

• Obtain informed consent when necessary. If doubt or discrepancy exists about the need for 
informed consent, it is prudent to err on the side of obtaining informed consent. 

• Realize that culture may impact people's definition, interpretation, and expectations of 
confidentiality, including people's various social identities and privileges. 

• Refrain from posting and publishing confidential or identifying images, information, and 
quotations in public domains, including digital and/or social media (i.e. Facebook, 
MySpace, Twitter, blogs, etc.), without appropriate informed consent. 

At times there may be a conflict between cultural norms and the concept of confidentiality. In 
your attempt to maintain high standards of confidentiality, your actions may be viewed by 
locals as going against cultural norms that require, for instance, more family involvement than 
your confidentiality standards allow. 

Excerpt from Duffle Bag Medicine 

"A foreigner sets up a clinic in your city. He does not speak much English, he will 

leave after a week or so, and he is not very likely to ever return. This foreigner 

tells you that he is a physician in his home country, but that he has never been to 

your community before and is not going to be working with your family physician 

or with other health professionals in your local health care structure. Would you 

take your children to see him if you had any other choice?" 

M. Roberts (2006), Duffle Bag Medicine. JAMA, 295 (13): 1491-1492. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad 

3.4 Collaboration 

Working abroad necessitates close collaboration with international partners. Equal exchange is 
the foundation of a successful project. Domestic and international partners should be included 
in all aspects of project conceptualization, development, implementation, evaluation, and 
dissemination of findings. Early in the process, all partners should discuss and agree upon their 
respective goals, expectations, and compensation. 

Communication is essential for strong collaboration. 

Know who the supervisors are and what their roles are in their organization or institution 

prior to departure. 

Know the organizational structure and to whom one is supposed to report findings, go to 

with questions, and seek assistance from in the resolution of workplace conflicts. 

Engage with local partners both personally and professionally by asking questions, 

soliciting feedback, and being available to reciprocate in such exchange. 

Be aware of potential language barriers and take steps to overcome them. 

Things to keep in mind while promoting a collaborative relationship with partners 

Have a clear idea of the project goals as mentioned in section 2.2 (Project Development 

with International Partners: The Planning Stage). 

Meet early with host supervisors to discuss goals and expectations. 

Work autonomously, being careful not to over-utilize the time or resources of 

collaborators, host institutions, and organizations. 

Be aware that staff on-site may already be working full-time, and therefore may be 

working extra time to assist with your work. 

Inform colleagues and supervisors of progress, successes, challenges, and failures and 

actively solicit feedback, advice, and evaluation of the project to date. 

Recognize and work to eliminate disparities in the abilities of coworkers and collaborators 

to access and utilize different forms of technology. 

Compensate and make attributions in a fair manner agreed upon by all parties. 

Collaborate closely during project evaluation and dissemination of findings in order to 
promote a smooth project wrap-up. 

Hold a final discussion and/or presentation of progress before departure from the host 

community, including bidirectional evaluation of the project and experience as a whole. 

Agree upon criteria for authorship of abstracts, reports, and publications as early as 


Ensure that equal contribution receives equal credit, keeping in mind that compensation 

may take the form of monetary payment, authorship, and/or recognition in the work 


Support efforts that ensure all working partners succeed at achieving their personally 

defined goals. 

"My experiences abroad have taught me about the importance of having local 
collaboration and input in the success of any global research project. No one 
knows better than the locals when it comes to the needs of a community and the 
best approach to address these needs. 

In order to be successful in conducting research globally, we must respect cultural 
differences. It is important to understand cultural practices in advance of travel." 

~ Kelly Hirko, PhD Program in Epidemiology 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad 

3.5 Cultural Sensitivity 

When working abroad, be aware of the similarities and differences between your own culture 
and that of the host community/communities and government. Culture influences daily life; 
therefore, when working abroad it is important to recognize how your own culture may be 
perceived, and in turn recognize the need to respect the local culture(s). As part of being 
culturally sensitive: 

• Actively learn about the social, political, and economic framework of the host country, 
community and organizational politics, as well as the power structures within the 
institutions with which you will be working. 

• Engage in cultural exchange as part of the project, including asking questions, discussing 
cultural similarities and differences with host colleagues, avoiding stereotypes and 
judgment, and informing others of your own culture. 

• Be aware of the differences in power and privileges between collaborators within a country 
and between countries. 

• Act with humility. 

• Dress in a culturally appropriate manner. 

• Avoid unnecessary displays of wealth and/or privilege. 

• Understand that technological discrepancies may exist and work to eliminate them. 

• Recognize and help define with host colleagues your role and the roles of others with 
whom you will be working. 

• Value the knowledge and experience of collaborators (individuals and institutions). 

Think of Your Project in Sociocultural Context 


Predominant religions 

Religious conflict 

Role of religious leaders in society 

Gender roles as dictated by the religions 

Historical trends in the region 

Historical context and historical approach to healthcare 


Role of traditional healers in the healthcare system 
Role of tribal or traditional healers in society 
Culture etiquette 

Government and Politics 

Type of political system 

Political instability or relative stability 

Corruption vs. transparency 

Perception of foreigners 

Historical trends, including Colonial History if applicable 

Changes in government/government structure, including revolutions, coups, wars 


Main economic engine of the region 

Natural disasters 

Effectiveness of NGOs present in region 

Major trading partners and donors 

Role of international institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and regional 

^ organizations setting economic policy 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Guidelines for Professional Behavior Abroad 

3.6 Personal Time 

Students working abroad will not be working 100% of the time and will therefore have personal 
time available to them. It is important to keep in mind that the student may be seen as a 
representative of the United States of America, the University of Michigan, and other entities 
while abroad, even while not explicitly working. 

As part of behaving professionally while off the clock: 

• Consider the meaning of drinking or purchasing alcoholic beverages in the host country. 
Local laws regarding alcohol or other substances should be followed at all times regardless 
of what laws you are used to back home. 

• Consider the implications of having sexual relations or intimate relationships with host 
community members. 

• Your hosts are likely to feel responsible for your safety. At the onset of your stay, speak 
with them to find out what their expectations are regarding knowing your whereabouts if 
you travel overnight or outside the local area. 

• Consider the implications of purchasing items for host community members with your 
personal money - this includes food, beverages (including alcohol), clothing or accessories, 
technologies, and transportation and housing assistance, among other items. 

• While abroad, take time to learn about the local community through your coworkers or 
other friends. Consider visiting the local tourist attractions, especially museums, to learn 
about the history of your host community. Often, people know what attractions are most 
visited by foreigners, and they will ask you what you think of their cultural heritage. It is a 
good idea to make sure to learn about it with as much depth as possible. 

• Consider taking cooking classes or learning to cook the local food from one of your friends 
or a member of your host family. 

• Attend cultural events, especially public celebrations, to learn about the values and 
culture of your host community. 

• Volunteer with a local organization. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 



Chapter 4 
Global Citizenship and Advocacy 

4.1 Introduction 

In an increasingly globalized world, it is incumbent upon globally engaged researchers and 
students to understand and work to address the ways in which global flows of influence and 
capital affect the most vulnerable members of global society. This section will give an overview 
of the necessary elements of this process: global citizenship and the accompanying processes of 
advocacy and engagement. 

4.2 Global Citizenship: A Conceptual Overview 

The dual paradigm of knowledge-engagement 

Global citizenship does not entail membership in any specific population, but rather a 
recognition of the shared qualities held by all members of the global population. This 
recognition is coupled with a desire to both learn how the world's most marginalized 
populations are impacted by globalization and to help alleviate hardship in the most effective 
way possible. Traits commonly held by global citizens include: 

• Cultural competency, including knowledge of local viewpoints on global issues and events, 
as well as the effects of global forces on those viewpoints. 

• Awareness of global issues and desire to learn more. 

• Desire to increase the global awareness of the general population through advocacy. 

• Participation in efforts aimed at effectively alleviating poverty and disease in marginalized 

Global citizenship vs. internationalization: An important distinction 

• Global citizenship goes beyond understanding a certain country in a vacuum. 
Internationalization, which refers to the process by which a person becomes accustomed to 
the politics, language, and culture of a given country or countries, often results in an overly 
narrow perspective of a society which can ignore its positioning within the global order. 
Global citizenship seeks to avoid such short sightedness, by promoting a more 
contextualized approach to understanding the workings of a given society. In practice, 
globally-engaged individuals should have perspectives that draw from both doctrines. 

The process of becoming an engaged global citizen 

Global citizenship requires an intimate understanding of both local and global aspects of social 
issues. This, in turn, can inform the work that he or she engages in. Important steps in the 
process of attaining global citizenship are as follows: 

Learning about a country and its global position by focusing on language, culture, politics, 

history, economy, etc. 

Engaging with marginalized citizens within the same country. It is critical to gain their 

perspective in better understanding how social attributes of the country affect their lives. 

Learning about previous attempts at humanitarian aid from locals as well as the impact on 

the community of the presence of foreigners. 

Collaborating with locals in a community-based participatory framework when initiating 

projects and interventions. 

Finding appropriate channels of communication for advocacy and determining the best 

audience(s) to maximize impact. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Global Citizenship and Advocacy 

Developing cultural competency before departure 

Below are some suggestions for places to start in attempting to develop an intimate 

understanding of the target community. 

Read a book dealing with cultural competency in health care to get a sense of more subtle 

problems encountered in the course of research and project work. 

Ask around for the best local guidebook that also provides a sense of history and cultural 


Assess the local health conditions and barriers to health care via generally available 

databases such as those supplied by the World Health Organization. 

Search for publications compiling research already done in your area of interest, 

particularly as they relate to cultural barriers to biomedical healthcare. 

Contact an individual involved in your project in-country to gain first-hand advice. 

Getting involved without going abroad 

Often, the skills and resources of students and faculty are best spent, not in the field, but 
in engaging in advocacy activities at home. The impact of global citizens is not felt solely 
in the field; often, it can be even more powerful in one's home country. See below for 
more on engaging actors at home. 

"In an inequitable world with competing interests and many stakeholders, 
global health engagement is challenging. Inequalities in health by 
socioeconomic status, gender and ethnicity exist both within countries and 
between them. Such inequities cannot be addressed by advances in medical 
technology alone. Effective health systems and services that improve the 
overall access to health care are necessary. Hence, people and organizations 
(both international and local, public and private) need to collaborate together 
and share knowledge to tackle health issues at a global scale." 

-Mekhala Reghavan, Biomedical Engineering PhD Program 

4.3 Advocacy and Stakeholders 

Global health advocacy can be focused on effective policies and resource commitments among 
stakeholders throughout the global health and development communities. Advocacy goals 
should address the real problems faced by the people that global health advocates and 
implementers seek to serve. 

Different types of stakeholders 

Stakeholders are individuals or groups who are directly or indirectly affected by global health 
projects, and may have an interest in such projects and /or the ability to influence project 
outcome, either positively or negatively. The wide range of stakeholders includes individuals, 
groups, organizations, and networks that are involved in various aspects of global health 
projects (such as implementation, evaluation, supply chain, technology, etc) in both the public 
and private sectors. They also include those who decide on health policy, manage global health 
programs, provide technical and/or financial support for projects, and individuals affected by 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Global Citizenship and Advocacy 

4.4 Engaging with Governments and Community Organizations 

Ensuring that research and interventions will have a lasting impact is an important concern of 
global engagement that must be addressed in the name of sustainability. To this end, you 
may be able to effect meaningful change in policy at the local, national, and international 
levels using insights gained during the course of your engagement. However, these efforts 
must be tempered adequately with caution in order to prevent censure from important public 
figures. Below are some guidelines to follow in any attempts at effecting policy change. 

Be aware of the local government's position and policies on the issues that are being 

• Whether or not you are interacting with the foreign country's government in your global 
health engagement, it is important to be aware of relevant policy affecting the issue or 
population that you are working with, especially if this policy involves sensitive issues. For 
example, a student working on HIV/AIDS prevention among gay populations might ask, 
What is the local legislation on homosexuality? How does the local government look upon 
gay rights advocacy? In building awareness on local government policy, you will be better 
able to navigate the political landscape and ensure success for both yourself and any local 
partners that will be working within that framework long after your role in the project has 

Look for opportunities to partner with local and national governments. 

• When priorities of the local government, such as reducing maternal mortality or improving 
rural education, align with students' project goals, these agencies can be effective 
partners. In these situations, it is helpful for students to meet with the regional or local 
Ministries of Health, Education, Agriculture, etc. which may be able to provide valuable 
contacts, resources, or access to members of the community. 

Engage host community advocacy organizations in policy agenda setting. 

• To achieve lasting impact in a community, it may be important to identify and engage 
relevant advocacy organizations in the host community. In involving these parties in 
agenda setting, your work can help form networks among organizations with similar 
interests to further future collaborations. Host community organizations are rich with 
knowledge about the local context, and are important resources to have when attempting 
any legislative action within foreign governments. Additionally, initiating advocacy 
activities through local organizations decreases the chance of negatively affecting the 
viability of the project. 

Avoid highly vocal advocacy for contentious policies. 

• Field work can reveal issues that may cause field workers to become passionate about 
changing government policies. However, acting on these sentiments can potentially hinder 
relations with the government, the censure of which can severely affect the viability of 
any project. Therefore, students should carefully consider what effect their advocacy 
might have on the policy in question, the project they are working on, and their 
collaborators, supervisors, and sponsors. 

Engage with the U.S. government to raise awareness and bring policy change. 

• When delving into a global health issue of interest, you may find U.S. government or 
institutional policies that promote practices that conflict with the issue being advocated 
for. Changing government policy can be a daunting task for students and results are not 
immediate, but many student organizations have dedicated themselves to political 
advocacy. Possible events to this end include awareness-raising campaigns among peers to 
engage in political action, call-ins and letter writing campaigns to policy makers, and more. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Global Citizenship and Advocacy 

4.5 Engaging with Non-Governmental Stakeholders 

Advocacy is a powerful means of achieving the goals of a global health project by influencing 
the priorities and actions of policy makers. Health is an issue that involves multiple 
stakeholders, including intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, local governments, academic 
experts, private organizations, and others. Types of non-governmental stakeholders include: 




Multi-lateral and private donors 

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 

Public Institutions 

Faith-based organizations 

Foundations, businesses 

Civil society organizations (CSOs) 

Stakeholders in the business sector 

• It is important to recognize that private sector participation is critical to addressing 
health issues. Global health advocates should engage businesses across sectors to take 
action to improve global health in partnership with other stakeholders of society. 
Because health and the economy are strongly connected, businesses should be 
encouraged to support improved health policies, governance and architecture, and raise 
awareness on priority health issues. By promoting the understanding that health creates 
wealth, businesses can influence senior-level decision makers on policies and 
investments in health. 

Businesses from all industries-healthcare, food and beverage, IT and communications, 
energy and natural resources— bring a valuable contribution to addressing health issues. 
Business can offer management expertise and resources, from technology to training, to 
help global health projects. 

• Influence of business entities on global health can include: 

Building health information systems 
Promoting new initiatives and educating on health issues 
Investing in health infrastructure and technologies 
Contributing solutions in delivery, funding and innovation gaps 

• Public-private partnerships (PPP) are formed between businesses, governments, 
academics and NGOs. These partnerships use the resources and know-how of all parties 
involved to run synergistic global health projects that yield real results on the ground. 

Stakeholders in civil society 

• Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are nonprofit organizations that aim to further the 
interests of the communities they serve. Driven to protect and empower the vulnerable, 
CSOs work in areas such as community development, service provision, advocacy, 
activism, and research. 

• CSOs are common in the developing world and can be divided into 5 types: 

Non-governmental organizations: NGOs work outside the control of the government 
and can be large or small. The activities of NGOs can be local, national or 

- Community-based organizations: Members come from the communities that these 
organizations serve and decisions are often collective in nature. Women's self-help 
groups are an example. 

Faith-based organizations: These organizations may work through local centers of 
faith and often play an important role in affecting health policies in many countries. 

- Voluntary health organizations: These are often patient advocacy groups focused on a 
specific disease. Activities involve aiding patients, promoting research and treatment 
access and recruiting patients for participation in trials. 

Networks: These are umbrella organizations comprising of various groups and 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Global Citizenship and Advocacy 

• Influence of CSOs on global health: 

- Conducting research and facilitating the development of technology 

Positively impacting research agendas by influencing governments and scientific bodies 
Disrupting scientific endeavors if they feel the scientific premise is invalid or harmful to 
the communities they serve 

- Advocating to local policy makers and politicians to increase funding for the research of 
specific diseases and to introduce timely health interventions 

• While engaging with CSOs and business organizations is useful, it is important that 
accountability and transparency exist in the partnership and that conflicts of interest are 

4.6 Engaging with Academia and the Campus Community 

Bringing awareness home: getting other students involved 

By being engaged in global activities, you are in the unique position of being surrounded by a 
dense network of highly involved and open-minded individuals. The college campus is a perfect 
locale in which to engage in activities aimed at raising awareness of the issues that are faced by 
many countries around the world. It is important for you to stress that it is possible to effect 
meaningful change in these countries and that students or other audiences can take an active 
role in addressing global issues. Methods of spreading this message include: 

• Working with local media outlets, including the student newspaper 

• Engaging with other student organizations 

• Forming cause-oriented student groups and advertising using social media outlets 

Maximizing the use of campus resources 

Aside from being a hotbed of activist activity, college campuses also have abundant academic 
resources that can be harnessed for global causes. Seek out opportunities to join faculty 
members in research they deem to be globally conscious. Additionally, realize that you can 
learn from and share experiences with other globally minded faculty members and students, 
and contribute to an increased awareness of global issues within the academic community. 

• Be prepared to answer questions about your own University. It might be helpful to 
download a PDF of the current U-M profile. 

4.7 Engaging with the Public 

Raising awareness through the media 

• Fieldwork can illuminate many global issues that may be otherwise hidden from the general 
public. There are many outlets through which a global health advocate, such as you, can 
raise awareness of these issues, including op/ed columns and letters to the editor in 
newspapers. These modes of communication can be important catalysts for changes in 
global social policy, increases in fundraising capacity, and improved visibility for 
humanitarian activities. 


• The publishing of Op/ Ed columns and letters to the editor is often out of the control of the 
writer and can often have a geographically narrow readership. For more control and an 
even wider dissemination, blogging has emerged as an excellent mode of expression. 
Blogging can enable global practitioners to reach a widespread audience, instantly obtain 
feedback, and potentially enter into correspondence with interested parties. 

Events and social media 

• Students and professionals alike can see their projects benefit from events such as 
fundraisers, panel discussions, and presentations. The increasing prevalence of social 
media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter makes advertising for these events easier and 
more effective. Additionally, the formation and effectiveness of cause-focused campus and 
professional groups can be enhanced through the formation of social networks. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Global Citizenship and Advocacy 

4.8 Considerations for Social Media Use 

Online social media is a great way to engage the public and be a better global citizen. Social 
media includes things like online social networks, blogging and microblogging, collaborative 
online media (wikis, documents, meetings, etc.), and sharing photos, videos, bookmarks, audio 
files, presentations, news feeds, maps, and more. Please keep in mind that many of the free 
online services archive the data you post, and it may be searchable and viewable to the 
general public. This becomes a concern when considering the confidentiality of clients, 
patients, or research subjects (see section 3.3 Confidentiality for more discussion on this 
topic). When creating content, be sure to inform any participants of the full extent of what it 
may be used for - a video recorded interview or project photos may be seen by someone's 
entire community. 

In addition to creating content, you can also receive content produced by other organizations 
and individuals. In this regard, it is important to know the source of your data and to verify it 
before you use it as for your own research or service project. 

If you plan on incorporating social media into your projects, be up front with collaborating 
partners and any supervisors you may have. Check with them to see if they want to approve 
project-related content you produce. It's much better for everyone to be in the know and be 
in agreement than to have to do damage control after the fact. 

"Social media applications are mostly free and easy to use, and have 
no real geographic boundaries, which is great when working with global 
partners. You have to consider the access of various communities to 
the resources, but mobile phone use is increasing across the globe and 
many applications are compatible with mobile phones." 

-Carrie Rheingans, MPH/MSW Program 

4.9 Resources 

WHO (2008). Engaging Stakeholders for Retooling TB Control. 

PATH: Advocacy to improve global health 

http:/ /www. php?i=1 679 (case studies) 

Health at the Global Economic Forum , 2005 

Bhan, Anant, et at. (2007) Grand challenges in global health: Engaging civil society 
organizations in biomedical research in developing countries. 

The global health case study initiative 

Global Health Council website 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 



Chapter 5 
Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

5.1 Introduction 

A major task of planning projects abroad is planning the logistics of each aspect of the trip - 
from project plans to personal plans - including travel arrangements, safety, language, health, 
housing, communicating with friends and family while abroad, money, funding the project and 
living expenses, and even packing. This chapter contains lists of logistical considerations to 
serve as recommendations based on experiences of students who have done a variety of 
projects around the globe. Logistical considerations vary according to project type and 
location, so please use these recommendations with your specific situation in mind. 

5.2 Travel Arrangements 


• Apply for a passport as early as possible. 

• First-time passports take from 4-6 weeks but that can increase during times of heavy 
travel, especially in the summer. 

• Expedited services are also available for an additional fee (usually 1-3 weeks to process). 

• The U.S. State Department ( has 
information on costs, processing timelines, filing requirements, and FAQs for U.S. 

• The passport expiration date must often be at least 6 months past the expected date of 
return to the U.S., but be sure to contact the embassy of the host country to confirm (see 
below for contact information). 


You may need a visa to enter your destination country/ies. 

Get your passport first. If the country you are visiting requires a visa, you'll need to send 

in your passport with your visa application. 

Not all nations require visas for those with a U.S. passport. 

Country specific information is available for every country of the world. These pages 

include information not only about visa requirements, but also on locations of the U.S. 

embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health 

conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and 

security information, and drug penalties. 

Please visit: 

Visa costs can range from $0-$300. 

Visas can take from 1 week to several months to process and approve. 

Another useful resource for foreign embassies in the U.S.: 

Citizens of nations other than the U.S. should contact the embassy of the host country to 

learn the proper protocol necessary to obtain a visa. 

"Trust one who has erred in logistics before: 

these details are the glue for your project. 

Being 110% prepared is advised." 

John Prenser, MD/PhD program 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

Air travel arrangements 

• It is generally cheaper to buy earlier - 6 months early is advisable. 

• There are many useful websites that generate prices and options and allow comparisons to 
other sites (e.g., Kayak, Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity). It is useful to check the 
websites of individual airline companies as well (e.g., British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa). 

• Be expectant of changes in the flight schedule, especially if the destination is a less 
frequently visited area. 

• Be sure to allot ample time for customs and immigration when deciding on connecting flights 
in terms of layover times. Also be aware that forced layovers do exist - determine how long 
it might be and whether you want to overnight in the airport or book a hotel. Leaving the 
airport may require a visa, so check that too. 

• Some airlines also give the option of buying insurance for refunds. This is something to 
consider and can save a lot of money for last-minute changes. 

• Consider convenience, location, size, safety, and amenities of airports if multiple airports 
are possible for the host community. 

• Many countries have exit taxes when leaving; be prepared to pay (usually cash) upon 
departure. Check with your project host or local consulate for details and bring sufficient 
cash to pay upon departure - sometimes payment is due before you check-in for flight. 

Travel insurance 

• Travel insurance is different than health insurance - which many universities offer at a very 
affordable price. The U-M/HTH travel abroad policy is one of the most comprehensive in the 
nation and is required for all undergraduates and highly recommended for graduate and 
professional students (see section 5.5, Health). 

• Travel insurance is essential and can help avoid heavy costs in unexpected situations. 

• Private companies provide international travel insurance as well, such as Travel Guard. 
Insurances can cover medical expenses, but can also be used for other unforeseen 
circumstances from natural disaster evacuations to lost luggage and stolen items. 

• Note that reimbursement rather than being covered directly may be the policy of the 
insurance company because of insurance policy regulations or because of local practices - 
check with the insurer before departure. 

Evacuation insurance 

• If the project does not occur in a major city, it is a good idea to get evacuation insurance. It 
is not hedging against catastrophic acts of nature; rather, it is hedging against the higher risk 
faced when going into an environment where quality healthcare is unavailable. In sparse, 
and/or unsanitary environments in the Global South, even the relatively mundane can 
quickly become a situation that requires evacuation. 

• Be forewarned, evacuation insurance is expensive since the typical evacuation costs more 
than $100,000. It is worth the cost and it should be factored into your budget if going to a 
remote and/or underdeveloped area. 

• Alternatively, there are plenty of private provider options that can be explored on your own. 

• The U-M/HTH travel abroad health insurance covers emergency evacuations (see 5.5 Health) 

Before departure 

Unplug electrical items at home. 

Adjust the temperature in the U.S. -based home to avoid freezing pipes or unexpected bills 

and turn down the temperature on the hot water heater. 

Memorize PIN codes to credit cards. 

Check out what hospitals are covered by the health insurance to be used while abroad. 

Get travel insurance. 

Exchange money if possible and balance U.S. -based bank account(s). 

Purchase maps and become familiar of the layout of where you're going. 

Forward (or hold) delivery of newspapers, magazines, and mail. 

Leave expensive watches and jewelry at home (see more on packing in section 5.10). 

Pay the rent and other necessary bills and set up auto-bill pay if preferred. 

Make plant care/pet care arrangements for the duration of the trip. 

Empty the fridge of perishables. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

5.3 Safety 

Important Registries 

UM International Travel Registry 

U.S. Embassies 

Personal judgment is the best defense in ensuring personal safety and property. However, the 
following are some tips to be as safe as possible: 

• Register on the University of Michigan 
International Travel website. This registry 
allows University officials to track where 
its students are and assist in times of 

• Register with nearest U.S. Embassy office 
in your host country. 

• Discuss safety with in-country host(s) to be 
aware of any general safety concerns 
(regions of cities to avoid, political issues, 

• Inform a friend or family member of your whereabouts, including lodging arrangements, 
host organization contact(s), duration of trip, and on-site contact information. 

• Avoid dark areas, walking alone, or venturing to unknown places if possible. 

• Beware of the surroundings, especially when exchanging money or withdrawing money. 
Avoid road-side exchange bureaus and crowded places for money matters if possible. 

• Purchase padlocks for suitcases for use in the host community. Avoid padlocking luggage 
for the actual flight itself, as airlines may break locks to search luggage. 

• Avoid leaving valuables like computers and electronics in open areas or tables in the 
room. Always lock them up when leaving them home. 

• Avoid visitors in your room or house, especially if living alone, and always be present 
when someone is cleaning your room. 

• Consider buying an insurance policy for valuables prior to departure (see section 5.2, 
Travel Arrangements). 

• Consider buying or bringing a bike helmet If you will be riding motorbikes for 
transportation (as is the norm in China, several countries in Africa, etc.). 

5.4 Language 

You should try to learn as much of the language(s) as possible of the host community/ies 
before departure. U-M has many resources for language learning and most can be utilized fully 
with advanced planning. The International Institute has many Areas Studies Centers that can 
be a resource for where to get language training before departure. Additionally, U-M has many 
introductory-level courses in a variety of languages into which you could consider enrolling. 
Some languages are taught in sequence, meaning that in the fall semester is part one and in 
the winter semester is part two. This may prevent the introductory course from being taken in 
the winter semester. Washtenaw County Community College also has a few introductory level 
courses, including some offered at night. Additional resources include buying language 
software for home learning, or using an online phone service to practice with others across 
the world. 

Language Resources 

Areas Studies Centers 

Washtenaw Community College 


If taking a formal class is not an 
option, the very minimum that should 
be known are safety and travel 
phrases, as well as important health 
information. Try to learn how to read 
a language if it's not written like 
anything already known to you, and 
be able to identify some specific 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

Fundamental phrases to learn how to hear and say: 

Hello (or other common greeting, learn if there's a formal/informal distinction). 

I don't speak . 

Do you speak (English or another language you speak)? 

My name is . 

Goodbye (learn if there's a formal/informal distinction). 

Please (or equivalent, or if it is even spoken regularly). 

Thank you (or equivalent, or if it is even spoken regularly). 

Where is the bathroom? 

Phrases for negotiating public transit-have someone teach you upon arrival. 

Yes/no (learn if there's a formal/informal distinction). 

How much (does it cost)? 

Any phrases dealing with any allergies/food restrictions you have (you may also consider 

getting a written note to take with you explaining this too). 

I need to go to the Embassy. 

Signs to be able to read: 

Men/women restroom 

Enter/exit/emergency exit 

Left/ right 


Do not enter 

Train track number/other transit-related 

5.5 Health 

The University of Michigan requires all undergraduate students on University sponsored or 
supported trips to be covered by the UM/HTH travel abroad insurance. Certain departments, 
programs, and schools/colleges require it of their graduate and professional students as well. 
Travel insurance is only $1.50 per day and includes medical evacuation coverage. 

Please be aware that the information in the following section changes over time and 
sometimes frequently. It is best to check with your doctor and other health providers for the 
most current information and most relevant advice regarding traveling in the host country or 
countries and community or communities. Additionally, the University Health Service's online 
tutorial has a lot of great information about health abroad. 

' Health Resources 


University of Michigan Travel Abroad Insurance 
UM Health Service Travel Health Tutorial 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 


Immunizations /vaccinations 

• Check with the CDC website ( and with the University 
Health Service ( for required or recommended immunizations 
and vaccinations. Some may need to be done weeks in advance, so it should be a priority 
to find out early (at least two months in advance of travel). Carefully read the literature 
provided at the doctor's office to decide which option is best for long-term travel plans, 
side effects, cost, etc. 

Malaria prophylaxis 

• The CDC site above also lists malaria endemic areas. It is important to be aware of the 
different side effects of the different anti-malarial options when making your decision 
about which to use. 

• In mosquito-laden environments, sleeping in mosquito nets is necessary. There are other 
options-many people in India burn special candles to reduce mosquitoes, and there are 
plug-in repellants available as well. A physical net is probably the most dependable 
protection as it does not require electricity and will not 'run out' in the middle of the night 
like a candle or incense could. On the first night, ask the host to show you how to hang up 
the mosquito net. Once hung, check for holes in the net and tie them off. If the net does 
not reach the floor, tuck the net into the bed with care. After you're locked under the net, 
check the sleeping space for any mosquitoes that may have flown in during set up. 

Reproductive health 

• Sexually transmitted and bloodborne diseases can be a serious threat depending on your 
destination (more information on specific locations is available through the CDC and WHO). 
To be prepared, you may consider bringing condoms and other forms of contraception with 
you. In addition to the traditional latex condom, polyisoprene condoms are the new latex- 
free alternative, which are said to be more resistant to breakage and heat damage. For 
emergency situations, you may also consider bringing emergency contraception (EC pill), 
HIV prophylaxis, and your own clean syringes. For female travelers, the diva cup is an 
innovative alternative to pads and tampons. This reusable-silicone cup is comfortable, 
convenient, and environmentally conscious. 

Other medications 

• If other medications are taken regularly, pack enough for the trip and carry the proper 
documentation to avoid issues when boarding the plane/traveling. Consider carrying a few 
smaller pill-containers for short trips or as a back-up supply. Carry information about the 
prescriptions in case you need to fill prescriptions on the trip. 

Sun protection 

• Some international locations are closer to the equator where the sun is the most direct and 
can cause the most sunburn. Bring enough sunscreen for the time abroad because it is 
possible that it cannot be found easily in the host community or communities. 

Healthy Eating Abroad 

Street food /eating out 

• Eating street food can be one of the favorite elements of a trip away from home (the 
variety of foods, the culture around it, haggling if that is the cultural norm, etc.). 
However, it is wise to exercise common sense: if it does not look safe or appetizing, do not 
eat it! If your travels take you to somewhere with unsafe water, avoid fruits/vegetables 
that were likely washed in local water. Avoid mixed juice drinks, since they were also 
likely mixed with water. Freshly fried or hot foods are safer than food that has been sitting 
around for a while. Also, be aware that there are some diseases and bugs that don't get 
killed when food is simply reheated. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 


• Make sure there is access to clean water. For most places in the world, drinking out of the 
tap is not a viable option. There may be local ways of disinfecting water (filters, UV 
systems), so ask local hosts what they recommend or may provide. Sports stores in the 
U.S. sell filters and tablets that can be brought along for water disinfection. Disinfection is 
noted to be more environmentally friendly than purchasing bottled water and, depending 
on whom you are working with, it may be advisable to avoid the 'rich foreigner who drinks 
expensive bottled water' label. When drinking out of glasses, be aware that they may be 
washed in the same local water, so use caution as necessary. 

Backup supply of food 

It is wise to bring some backup food for a variety of reasons: 

• If you ever fall ill and want some dependable food to rely on 

• If you get homesick for familiar foods 

• Snacks for a long day at work or when it might be difficult to find/buy food 

• Some situations are more unpredictable abroad (a car might break down on a 
highway), and you might not know where to find a quick snack easily. Easy choices: 
crackers, granola bars, oatmeal (if you will have access to boiling water), dried fruit, 
and nuts. 

• Also see packing list suggestions in section 5.10. 

Feeling sick abroad: Preparing for the worst 

Medications to have on hand 

• Most medications are what you want to have for any trip away from home: over-the- 
counter medications for headaches and fever reduction, and pain relievers to use as 
necessary. No matter where you go, it is likely your diet is going to be different from home 
and you are at risk for gastrointestinal issues. Your travel nurse will likely prescribe 
Ciprofloxacin, a powerful antibiotic that works on a lot of stomach ailments causing 
traveler's diarrhea. As with any antibiotic, it is recommended to only use as necessary (not 
at the slightest indications) and to complete the course to avoid resistance (learn more 
Oral rehydration packets are available to buy in the U.S. (you can also make a decent 
substitute by mixing 5 cups water, 8 tsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt if you don't have oral 
rehydration packets with you). 

Diagnosing/ finding a doctor 

• Most gastrointestinal issues are treated empirically, but if you are concerned about 
something else, ask your host for suggestions for doctors (it is worth asking about this even 
before you are ill, just to have the information available!). Ask for local availability of 
rapid tests (ex. malaria can be tested for easily with a rapid test kit, and should be 
treated as soon as possible). The U-M required HTH insurance has a listing of covered 
doctors for locations around the world (please see 

First aid kit 

A general first-aid kit is necessary when traveling and should contain: 

• Hydrocortisone for bug bites 

• Adhesive bandages 

• Headache/pain over-the-counter medication 

• Decongestant 

• Hand sanitizer 

Things to look for upon returning home 

• Intestinal worms may not give symptoms until later and some people choose to take anti-worm 
medication after a trip to just be safe ('de-worming' drugs don't have many side effects). Many 
other illnesses might not present themselves until a week or later after exposure (giardia, 
malaria); watch for symptoms after returning and tell a doctor if concerns arise. If a malarial 
area was visited, you must inform any doctors you visit for the first year after return. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

5.6 Housing 

Expect changes in plans to happen-this makes knowing the options and being flexible 
important. To secure housing in the host community, consider: 

• Starting the search as early as possible (travel books, visitor/traveler websites, word-of- 
mouth, host organization contacts) 

• Personal comfort level and budget 

• Asking about cancellation policies, both if the renter or landlord needs to cancel 

• Type of housing 

- Apartment, room in a house 
Dorms/university housing 

Host families (host supervisor, co-workers - consider the pros/cons of this) 
Hotels/hostels/youth hostels 
Camping sites 

• Rate of pay: nightly, weekly, monthly? 

• Are towels/linens provided? 

• Are flip-flops for showers necessary (youth hostels especially)? 

• Distance from work site: Is public transportation available? Will a company/ host 
organization chauffeur/driver be provided or will a private taxi be used? 

5.7 Communication with Family St Friends While Abroad 

Wherever you go, it is important to plan to be in touch with family and friends and inform them 
of these plans. Inform family about the details of the initial arrival and check-in to avoid 
worries. Consider how long it will likely take between initial arrival in the host country and 
checking in and alert your family to these circumstances. 


• Buy a mobile phone in-country: Many countries use a different technology for phones than the 
U.S., making many U.S. -based phones incompatible. Phones that have interchangeable SIM 
cards are available in the U.S., but these are often more expensive than buying them in- 
country. It is often fairly simple to buy a phone with a matching SIM card in the host country, 
which can be loaded with prepaid minutes. Some cities have street vendors on every corner 
with cheap phones and SIM cards. Others require a longer registration process. Consider the 
duration of your project before making the decision to buy a phone. This expense may be 
eligible to be covered by your project funding. Check with supervisors and funders to be sure 
and keep all receipts and records of purchasing the phone and the minutes. 

• Unlock a current phone: Some U.S. phones can be 'unlocked' to insert a SIM card. Check the 
specifics of the U.S. -based phone to see if this is possible. 

• Keep in mind that dust and dirt may travel into a mobile phone if the host community is 
very dusty. 

• Depending on how long your trip is, a phone may not be needed; however, the phone 
numbers of hosts and team members should be known and kept accessible. Being with 
someone who has a phone makes you accessible to family and may ease tensions in 
emergency situations. If payphones are a possibility in the host country, keeping a few coins 
in your pocket or purse at all times makes it possible to make a call if necessary. It might be 
worth sharing phones if travels are with a bigger group. 

"Keeping in touch with family and friends back home is easier now with 

advances in internet capabilities and cellular phones, but internet access is 

often inconsistent abroad. I found it helpful to remind my family and friends 

that I would do my best to communicate often, but not to worry if I was out of 

touch for a few days." 

~ Kelly Hirko, PhD program in Epidemiology 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 


• Depending on the host community, Internet access may be similar to or better than in the 
U.S., but could also be so poor that it may be difficult to check email more than once a 
month. Some smaller villages in remote areas may not have any connection, so travel to 
the bigger cities may be necessary. The internet situation may be assessed by examining 
the communication with the hosts (Do they respond to email quickly? Can you only reach 
them by phone?). It is worth asking the hosts what to expect before departure. Remember 
that internet speed may differ across regions of the globe as well. 

• Suggestions for when there is limited time online/slow connections: 

- Open different tabs/browser windows for multitasking (but keep in mind that 
depending on the connection, trying to download two things simultaneously might slow 
each down). 

- For long emails or newspaper articles, load the content and copy/ paste to a word 
processor so it can be read later. 

- If there is access to a computer, draft emails to send while offline (in a word processor 
or text editor) so less time is spent doing so when online. 

• Options for where to get internet access: 

Office computers: The best option is to use the Internet in a secure environment. 
Working in an office with its own Internet connection is preferable. Hostels may also 
have secure connections-it is worth asking. 

Internet cafes: The main concern regarding Internet cafes is the security of the 
connection. It is highly discouraged to check bank accounts and other sensitive matters 
in internet cafes. Avoid putting such private data on computers in internet cafes. It 
might be better to ask parents or close friends to check on those things back home 
instead. Also, it is hard to tell who is looking over your shoulder while typing in 
passwords, or who might go through the internet cookies after you use a browser. 
Always log completely out of everything that uses a password to sign in, and clear the 
cookies and close the browser. 

Deciding between bringing a personal computer or sharing a computer 

• Pros and Cons of bringing a personal computer 

Pros: Less concern of someone reading internet cookies; having your own space to 

draft emails and read text whether or not internet is available; and having a place to 

save your pictures. 

Cons: It is more difficult to have one if there is concern about where to keep it (no 

secure place in your living space), or the host community is a dusty place. Some places 

may not have consistent power, so finding an outlet with surge protection and 

consistent output may be necessary. 

Consider bringing an older computer if available to avoid worrying about the above 

issues. Either way, back up important files on a flash drive or external hard disk. If a 

personal computer will be connected to the internet, make sure the most up-to-date 

antivirus software is installed and practice common sense in opening attachments. 

• Considerations for a shared computer (computers at the internet cafes, office 
computers): As with a personal computer, it is important to have flash drives or hard 
drives for files. Always be aware that the computer being used may have viruses or 
trojans that a flash drive may pick up. There are a variety of techniques provided online 
to try to avoid such scenarios (one example being: 
drive-or-pen-drive/). Be careful when putting in passwords for websites on a shared 
computer, and delete cookies and cache after the session. 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

5.8 Money Issues 

Essential concerns with money 

• Be safe. Have emergency cash on hand in case you get stuck somewhere. A general 
guideline is to have enough money to rent a car and eat for 2-3 days. 

• Be vigilant. Don't leave any personal information lying around, and tell the bank and other 
relevant billing authorities where your project will happen so they don't cancel your cards. 

• Be aware. A lot of places may not have ATMs, meaning bank cards and credit cards will be 
useless. Many countries have non-convertible currency, or currency that is worth less than 
U.S. dollars and isn't easily converted back to USD. Don't convert more than needed or just 
do not convert. Basically, do the research before you leave. 

• Be a pessimist. Enroll in an emergency health insurance plan that covers evacuation (see 
sections 5.2, 5.3, 5.5 above). 

• Have access to a variety of financial resources. 

Choosing between cash, traveler's checks or a credit or debit card 

• Credit cards and bank cards 

- Advantages: Access to your own accounts; cards may have some theft protection; 
"unlimited" supply of funds. 

Disadvantages: Banks sometimes charge multiple fees for out-of-network transactions as 
well as for foreign currency conversion; it is not always possible to use a credit card or 
access an ATM, especially if working with local contacts; if stolen, credit cards 
represent a near-unlimited potential for use. 

Recommendations: Know what protections are on the credit card; let provider know you 
will be using the card out-of-country; keep copies of BOTH sides of the cards separate 
from the actual cards while traveling to ensure access to numbers/contacts. 

• Cash 

- Advantages: Allows for a choice of how much to carry; easily accessible; will not 
present the hassles that other forms of payment might; most situations in a foreign 
country will be amenable to cash. 

Disadvantages: Limited amount; unprotected and easily accessible by others; there are 
often bank fees for withdrawing from foreign accounts and/or conversion fee. 
Recommendations: Consider withdrawing cash in the currency you need from your bank 
at home; large bills take up less space and often offer a better exchange rate than $20 
bills (or less); store cash in a variety of places including front pocket and money belt. 

• Traveler's checks 

- Advantage: Safe /'/ you protect the receipt with the serial number of the check. 
Disadvantage: Not widely accepted and a hassle to redeem for cash; only sold in 
certain denominations. 

Recommendations: Viable alternative in a city where traveler's checks are widely 
accepted; if uncertain, it may be best to find an alternative source of money. 

Financial considerations when doing non-profit/ research work in developing countries 

• Most payments will be made in cash and will not be through an institution. Also, partner 
organizations may not have receipts for reimbursement. 

• Availability of banks, ATMs, and vendors accepting credit cards will vary depending on 
location. Before leaving, you should: 

Research the location and the facilities available therein. 
Have access to a variety of financial means. 

- Carry enough foreign currency for 2-3 days. 

- Carry a minimum amount of American currency to convert at the airport if necessary. 

- Carry a credit card or debit card with good protection as a backup. 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

5.9 Funding for the Experiences 

Many schools, centers, and institutes within the University of Michigan offer funding for 
research and/or internships abroad. 

International Institute 

A listing of funding available through the International Institute, including sources both within and 

outside of the University, can be found at the following links (for undergraduates, graduate students, 

and faculty, respectively). Note that some of the faculty awards actually support students, so it may be 

possible to work with a supervising faculty member to apply for these awards. These funds may support 

research or internships. 

Ginsberg Center 

The Ginsberg Center funds projects that are more focused on service and experiential learning than on 

research. See the sections "Fellowships for Students" and "Scholarships for Students" at the following link: 

Rackham School of Graduate Studies 

Rackham offers research grants and conference travel funds to graduate students including: Rackham 

Conference Travel Grant, Rackham Graduate Student Research Grants, Rackham International Research 


Center for Global Health (CGH) 

CGH offers research and conference travel funding to students who are Associates of CGH. Specifically, 

look at the Conference Fund, and the two research programs: Student Global Health Engagement 

Program and Student Global Health Research Scholar Program. There is no funding for internships or 

volunteer work at this time. 

Student Association: 

Funding Programs: 

Center for International and Comparative Studies (CICS) 

CICS offers funding for internships and research abroad for undergraduate and graduate students. CICS 

also offers the Graduate Seminar on Global Transformations. This is a 3-semester seminar that explores 

connections among disciplines engaged in global research. Accepted students receive training as well as 

funding for their international research. 

Home school /department 

Some departments have funding, either officially allocated for student research/internship funding, or 
discretionary funding that can be applied for. Talk to the department administrator to find out about 
such opportunities in your home school or department. 

Faculty grant 

If research is to be done as a part of a faculty member's grant, they may be able to use grant funds to 
subsidize the student's travel and research expenses. Talk to the supervising faculty member to find out 
whether this may be an option. 

Student Biomedical Research Program (SBRP) 

Medical students are eligible for research funding through SBRP. Application and information can be 

found at: 

William Davidson Institute (WDI) 

WDI supports internships for Master-level students. 

Outside Funding Sources 

Funding from sources outside the University can also be found. Michigan State University provides an 

excellent listing of funding opportunities: 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 

5.10 Packing 


• What clothing to pack will depend upon the climate and season of the location, as well as 
the setting in which you will be working. You should learn this information before 
attempting to prepare a packing list. 

Things to take into consideration when packing clothing: 

• For more professional settings, pack clothes such as slacks, long sleeved button-down 
shirts, and closed-toed shoes. Women may want to inquire about the local culture with 
regards to dress. For example, women may be expected to wear dresses /skirts of a certain 
style or length (e.g., below the knee or entirely covering legs) or be expected to wear a 
headscarf. Pack clothes that are made of light fabric and can be easily washed and worn. 
Clothes that are made of heavier fabric take longer to dry after being washed and can start 
to mold and mildew over time. Furthermore, lighter clothes are easier to pack, and can be 
easily transported. Also, consider taking clothes that can be left behind or donated. Not 
only does this allow for giving back to your community, it will help make room for any 
souvenirs that need to be packed and brought home! 

• Clothes to pack in preparation for inclement weather include rain boots (waterproof 
shoes), and light jacket for warmer climates or full-fledged snow gear for colder climates 
or high altitude. 

□ Undergarments □ 

□ Pants (dress and jeans) □ 

□ Shorts (weather permitting), check with □ 
local hosts for length recommendations) 

□ Shirts (climate dependent, T-shirts, long- □ 
sleeve shirts, and dress shirts) □ 

□ Socks (climate dependent) □ 

□ Shoes (sneakers, dress shoes, boots, □ 
sandals/flip-flops) □ 

□ Pajamas (something to sleep in) □ 



Accessories (consider necessity and 


Belt (consider reversible black/brown) 

Jackets/ raincoat (climate dependant) 




Gloves, scarves, earmuffs, beanies, etc. 


Most places will have wonderful food to try, however taking a few food items to help 
adjust before beginning to try the local food may be a good idea. The following items are 
non-perishable and easy to pack: 

□ Snacks 

□ Granola and protein bars 

□ Fruit snacks 

□ Peanut butter or cheese crackers 

□ Crackers 

□ Animal crackers 

□ Packets for rehydration (such as Crystal Light or Gatorade) 

□ Instant meals 

□ Instant oatmeal 

□ Instant noodles or cheesy noodles 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 


• Depending on your accommodations, it may be necessary to bring your own bed linens and 

towels. Even if the aforementioned things are to be provided, consider packing some of 

the following items just in case: 

□ Sheets and pillowcase 

□ Light Blanket (Blanket will also be useful if it is cold on the plane) 

□ Face and body towels 

□ Pillow 

□ Toilet paper (and be careful of flushing it - it may not be possible in all places) 

Survival Supplies 

• The following is a list of items that may come in handy throughout the duration of the 

□ Batteries 

□ Flash light 

□ Umbrella (small travel size) 

□ Local guidebook 

□ Mosquito spray and bite medication 

□ UNLOCKED cell phone with SIM card 


• During down time (or when there is no electricity) the following list of items may be 

□ Books 

□ Games fit puzzles (i.e. crossword, word search, etc) 

□ MP3 player (with movies and music) 

□ Playing cards 

□ Journal 

□ Items such as books, games and puzzles, and playing cards can also be donated 

Project Supplies 

□ Laptop 

□ Flash drive 

□ Notebooks 

□ Writing utensils 

□ Wireless network card (If applicable) for internet access 

□ First Aid Kit 

□ Adhesive bandages 

□ Anti-Diarrheal 

□ Insect and/or 
mosquito repellent 

□ Pain reliever or 
fever reducer 



Toothbrush, toothpaste 


Fingernail clippers 






Soap, shampoo, conditioner 


Sunscreen and after 


Shaving Supplies 

sun cream 


Contact lens equipment or 


Tampons and pads 



Make up 




Toilet paper 


Cotton Swabs 

Student Handbook for Global Engagement 


Logistics of Research and Service Abroad 


□ Address list and list of important contacts or numbers 

□ Paper or notebook 

□ Pencils, pens 

□ Passport, visas, tickets (plane, bus, train, etc.), travel Insurance, picture ID 

□ Vaccination cards 

□ Medicines/prescription drugs 

□ Finances 

□ ATM card and credit card (note that some card companies are more globally accepted 
than others) 

□ Cash in the local currency of your arrival destination 

□ Cash in US dollars for exchange 

□ Backpack, suitcase, sports bag (something to pack everything in) 


□ Camera, film and batteries - spare flash cards or memory for digital camera 

□ Snack bars 

□ Notebook/ diary 

□ Electrical adapter and plug converter (check the type of electricity and plugs of the 
host community before leaving) 

□ Flashlight 

□ Gifts - inquire about gift-giving practices/expectations and stock up on small U-M 
items (pens, pencils, etc.) before departure. 

□ Guidebooks 

□ Language resources 

□ Electronics - mp3 player, laptop, cell phone -use your own discretion based on area 
and nature of travel 

□ Laundry detergent 

□ Mosquito net 

□ Wet wipes/ anti-bacterial wipes 

□ Reclosable bags 

Resources packing list packing list 
International Center's checklist for travel abroad 


University of Michigan Center for Global Health 

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement 

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable 
federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is 
committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, 
color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, 
disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and 
admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title 
IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann 
Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388. For other University of Michigan information 
call 734-764-1817. 

Regents of the University of Michigan 

Julia Donovan Darlow, Ann Arbor 
Laurence B. Deitch, Bingham Farms 
Denise Hitch, Bingham Farms 
Olivia P. Maynard, Goodrich 
Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor 
Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park 
S. Martin Taylor, Grosse Pointe Farms 
Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor 
Mary Sue Coleman, ex officio